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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  January 9, 2011 6:00pm-7:15pm EST

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>> host: well, my e-mails i guess gave a sense of a different kind of person, perhaps afraid. [laughter] thank you very much, elizabeth and thank you all of you. >> guest: banks. [applause] [applause] ..
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this even hosted by turnrow book company in greenwood mississippi lasts about one hour and ten minutes. [applause] thank you, genie and it's good to be back in here greenwood seeing a lot of old friends faces in the audience and just be glad to be here. it's always good to be infidel tough. as jamie mentioned, i have my own dark background and my wife, nancy, is a bonafide adel tuck girl and so we are both delighted to be here with you. i will just talk a little bit about the book and read a brief passage of what some local greenwood ankle and more than one greenwood character in the
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book and then most importantly i want to devote most of our time to dealing with any questions that you have because the book has created some controversy, and i am perfectly happy to be up front and deal with any questions or whatever. i became interested in doing this book almost immediately. i teach at neubig old miss and i know dick scrubs and many characters in the book, and i knew right away that there was something more to the story than the picture that was developing because the first time i met dick scruggs i was still a reporter for the "boston globe" and i was on the coast doing a story that involved squabbles over asbestos money. there were allegations some of the money had been misspent or
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stuck away somewhere. there were squabbles between scruggs and its associates and they are just now played out and form a part of the book and importantly, i learned that dick scruggs faced an indictment was going to be drawn up by the jackson district attorney of the time ed peters and he is a central figure in the plot to indict dick for improperly taking contingency for asbestos litigation on behalf of the state and had been drawn up by steve patterson who was at the time the state auditor and was designed not only burning down scruggs but to to bring them mike moore who was the attorney general and good friend of scruggs. fast-forward ten years or later
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and suddenly dick scruggs and steve patterson are said to be partners in crime, so something is better foot than a simple white collar crime and so i began to try to pull back some of this onion like the russian dolls you open one and there is another and another. i discovered it is a huge story especially for us in mississippi because there is so much violent history and our politics involved in this. this is not a simple but simple bribery not a bribery is simple, but it's a story that spans several decades. it goes back for purposes in my book i go back to the early days of what we all knew in
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mississippi as east and organizations and it was an organization of course controlled by senator jim eastland and they were fixing cases and scratching each other's backs and punishing enemies years ago, and it's not necessarily that everybody involved was a nefarious character so just in it for politics, but there was a rogue element and the east wind organization, and after east lynne affected to be to pass, he resigned from the senate and didn't run for reelection in 1978 and effectively as far as washington passed to the hands of trent lott who happened to be dick scruggs brother-in-law. so following me a little bit so far it gets more interesting and intriguing to me and there were
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several breakthroughs i had in the course of my reporting. i consider myself basically an old reporter than reporting all my career and i teach reporting and writing now at old miss. i would say the breakthrough for me is when dick scruggs began to talk to me extensively before he went to prison and he has attempted to correspond with me and we talked on the phone a few times in confinement. dick was not at first willing to talk to me. we are to the two were friends, our friends, present tense, the whole thing was awkward and after they were pleated it guilty and sentenced it suddenly became apparent to me he was willing to talk because one day he went to lunch with his son
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zack and issac have already been talking pouring out stuff because he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and zach was adamant of his innocence he felt he was collateral damage in all of this and much of that is portrayed in the book, but dick told me then how he had been addicted to a painkiller that i had never heard this and basically won the factors that affected the judgment. he had back surgery in the year 2000 and began loading up on this stuff and he's ordering it on the internet and some of his close friends later confirmed to me it really affected his thinking and his character and a lot of people said they wanted nothing to do with you afternoon
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as one explanation of a number of other forces and factors at work. important to me was the cooperation of the prosecutors one of the central figures in the prosecution were generous and talking to me. john heineman, who initiated the investigation by that time had retired and had an office next to mine at old miss, and john was very helpful and cleaning out some of the early groundwork tom paulson who was a chief prosecutor spent four days, almost four mornings with me in my office after he retired spelling out the story and tom
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was talking to me at such length because he wanted their side of the story to get out. the u.s. attorney in charge of the office jim also was generous and talking to me and while he was not as forthcoming as the other two, it would disabuse me if he felt i was off track, so i appreciated their cooperation in saying that. the book is multi dimensional. it is not told from anyone perspective. i tell it in third person narrative. there is no retribution in the book is all but there are about 40 pages of footnotes in the back where you can get a pretty good idea of where i got the information and in quite a few instances it is confidential
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sources and speaking of confidential sources, a probably the most important thing i got my hands on was a set of secret fbi wiretap recordings collected during the investigation, and listening to the hours of these conversations between the judge and tim balducci who was the guy basically delivering the bride and then became the state chief witness and i should say the federal government chief witness, conversations with steve patterson and a number of other people on these recordings and listening to them i am able, and i hope i'm able to deliver to the reader a much more comprehensive story of what went on and what you were reading in the newspapers because that just scratched the surface, and i think it will raise some questions about how the
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investigation was carried out. and then after greenwood consumption i would say pl, i'm not sure many of you know, really was a mystery man in this whole story and i was able to obtain a 25-year-old deposition he had given in jackson in connection with a lawsuit he had brought against the news service because of a series of stories they had written about and he sued them for voluble, but there was all sorts of background, hundreds of pages. i spent two days going through this the position and learned a whole lot about peeled lake who acquitted my appetite but remained something of a mystery,
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and of course he is now living in birmingham. nancy and i were in birmingham yesterday. he didn't come to my signing. [laughter] so, let me just read you a brief passage from very early in the book and to establish the content this is in 1992 when steve patterson the state auditor was trying to get dick scruggs invited and this book goes back in 2007 when dick scruggs squall office is rated and he is invited the next day. this story goes way back. one evening and 1992 s scruggs struggled to deal with the case
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they were building against him he'd received a telephone call at his home from a man named pl blake. i know what's going on and i'm going to help you, blake told scruggs. you need to come up and see me. blake was corrupted but he understood the significance of his call. oblix name wasn't recognizable in most households in mississippi, but among the political incentive he was regarded as one of eastland original agents who still had the ability to fix things. blake had contacted him and the direction of scruggs brother-in-law, trent lott who assumed command of the conservative power structure after eastland's departure from the scene. scruggs had first been introduced in a bleak a decade before in washington, anderson. scruggs had been told by anderson that there was a friend in the delta who needed help.
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oblique on several thousand fertile acres in mississippi and a group of grain elevators in texas. but his bankruptcy need assistance in filing chapter 11 while trying to salvage much of his wealth. during this period, scruggs handled mostly mundane bankruptcy proceedings. still she was fascinated by the intrigue of politics and eager to become an inside player himself. scruggs helped results his financial problems and while handling the bankruptcy issues, he became peripherally involved in defending belleek in a criminal case. blake had been charged with offering officials of mississippi bank $500,000 in bribes in order to get $21 million in loans. scruggs worked with blake's criminal defense lawyer,
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well-connected future republican senator from tennessee named fred thompson to will pull down to a misdemeanor. blake pleaded guilty to the lesser charge in a state jail the hand of the eastland marine was prominent in the disposition of the case. the scandal remained an abiding mystery in mississippi. no one knew how he gained such wealth by normal standards he should have been the stuff of a alger tale. he grew up in a hotel hatch county village in the mississippi delta and worked his way out of obscurity on the playing field at mississippi state. blake was a standout on the state's undistinguished football team of the 1950's and the leading receiver in 1959 with a
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total of six passes caught in the era of game and strong defense. for while he played ball in canada before resettling in the delta as a former. sometime in the 1960's he became prosperous acquiring loans to buy property while assuming a semblance of importance in greenwood as an officer in east one's army. like his patron, blake worked in the background. when the legislature was in session he could be seen patrolling the holes in the state capital or treating messages after hours with officials in the jackson lounges. he didn't seek public office, he did not openly support candidates. the general public had no idea that pla represented power behind the scenes, yet politicians knew he was one of the most important go to guys in the state. when david, a young adult
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politician was a harvard degree he decided to run for congress in 1972 he was told blake's approval was essential to the organization support. boeing got it and won the election. thad cochran was given the senate fisa in 1978 when he decided to run for the senate seat that eastland had yielded called peel blake. cochran talked to blake on the phone, asked for his help and secured it. but the men never really melted after cochran's succeeded eastland. oblique like many members of the eastland organization moved to an alliance with cochran's republican party, trent lott. despite his connection, blake was seldom quoted and rarely photographed. he existed like some sort of in a dramatic dawn in the delta. over the years he bought more land, made substantial investments while much of it live comfortably in a big house in greenwood.
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it was to this place bleak summoned scruggs in the summer of 1992 though scruggs and simply for years he was familiar with his own and spend nights in the previous decade dealing with problems and now what was blake's turn to reciprocate. when scruggs told his wife of the trip, diane began to wonder what hold blake might have over her husband to summon him to travel 200 miles to the dhaka. to try and bleak should have been inundated. blake more properly should have been than the one to hold the court. don ghanem had began to wonder about some of her husband's associates all side of the sphere of their friends. in his rush to succeed she believed scruggs had taken untrustworthy partners and to his law practice while consorting with others who seem to hurt a bit crude and
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reaching. to diane, the connection seemed out of sync with her husband's personality dick always exude a special charm even during their childhood days when he was a fatherless boy and she was the daughter of a popular dentist. she became attracted to him after developed manners that made him seem downright benner in the years after he went away to college. by the time the two of them returned as a couple, it was as though they were refined and acceptable to the locals, yet for all of his social skills, dick scruggs now seemed drawn to men bearing the appearance of impropriety. despite dalian's misgivings, scruggs flew in his plan to a small dillinger airport were bleak met him. you helped me a lot, he told scruggs, now i'm going to help you. after they reached the house in
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an upscale neighborhood, scruggs was told to wait in the living room and relax. somebody is going to be here in about 30 minutes that you need to talk to, blake said. soon he was astonished to see steve patterson paray. blake greeted the state auditor but also had a few scalding words. waiting and scruggs traction he told patterson this is chicken shit stuff. i want you to back off. if you want to go after somebody go after somebody else. patterson and his older gotten the message because he did not object. the case was effectively settled that night in oblix living room. patterson wouldn't only bright the district attorney letter stating that, quote, the altar found no evidence of criminal conduct on the part of mr. scruggs but patterson or even send a letter to louisiana
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officials hailing scruggs for an outstanding job in the asbestos litigation on behalf of the people of mississippi. patterson recommended that the state of louisiana high your scruggs to serve as counsel on asbestos cases. for his part scruggs agreed to reduce his claims of the state by $63,000. to submit the understanding to form the new bond, blake proposed the three men go out to dinner to the greenwood restaurant that featured prime rib, pork chops and paabo which its private curtain boosts was the full back to the prohibition days and one of the most popular thoughts in the delta. the plan are of good times in a drunken food fights patrons occasionally a lot rolls over
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each other's curtains or hurled utter pettis to the ceiling to see how long they might add here before falling on someone's head. how many of you have thrown butter onto the ceiling? i think i have. [laughter] all the witold he said they never served primary and pork chops, never did. i guess i am and precise in that part but i have been in there and i know sometimes i didn't know they had any way i apologize to rusco. anyway, lescol's representative picture that scruggs couldn't fully enjoy the evening. he had a sense of relief to criminal charges would never have materialized. still he had difficulty eating. his stomach had attention as he reflected on the power he had just seen exercised.
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eastland was six years did put his organization lived on, still capable of cases, blocking investigations, finding satisfactory solutions for political allies and creating insurmountable obstacles for enemies. scruggs suddenly felt as though he had become a made man, like a character and i did by the mafia. he wasn't exactly at ease with a role growing from his memory of science-fiction films rather than gangster epics he told the term from the 1977 movie star wars better describes these people with whom he was feeling. the constituted, he fought, the dark side of the force. i will be happy to take any kind of questions you might have. [applause]
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i'm excuse and released. one of the things i found interesting reading is the portrayal in the media was that the judge was quite a hero. your book portrayed him a little bit more complex than that and in some ways suggested he may have helped tim balducci into the bribery case, so -- >> it to your question? they want a portrait of judge henry blackie. i will try not to filibuster. judge lackie wouldn't talk to me. he talked to a number of other reporters but some reason refused to talk to me. i originally sent him a letter that included a couple of references including the friend and neighbor who is also a circuit judge, and i called his
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office once and got no response. i called again and the secretary said you are the fellow writing the book, but he never talked to me, so i want to make that clear crystal ball however, i have heard a great deal of judge henry lackie on those recordings i also obtained his personal journal that the fbi asked him to keep. it's very clear in having said that i shall also emphasized judge lackie has a clean honorable record as a judge, in fact he is the last person on earth that scruggs or anybody else connected with scruggs should have approached to do a favor with scruggs because dick is basically a progressive democrat. henry lackie is a very conservative republican and has been.
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it's clear from the recordings henry lackie didn't think very highly of trial lawyers. dick is the antithesis of henry lackie. dick sort of cosmopolitan and oxford in henry lackie is down in calhoun city and called himself a country bumpkin. importantly, when tim balducci approached henry lackie to ask for a favor, it was three days after dick scruggs had bought statewide full-page ads in his campaign to drive toward jail out of office. an advertisement was particularly offensive to people who like george dale. the was the infamous look stegano paid and which george is portrayed as the paid being attended by state farm, people at state farm beauty salon.
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it turns out henry lackie and george dale our friends and serve on the board of the mississippi, which together. rauf get all of that and you get tim balducci three days later approaching judge lackie, who balducci incidentally looked on him as his mentor and as one very prominent member of the bar said to me later he said i can't understand what motivated him to throw this young man under the boss in order to get scruggs because from that moment on, it was never any offer of money to henry lackie. nothing had happened. henry we did for two weeks before he reported it to federal authorities, and they became very interested then and there is certainly an indication that
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model of the federal prosecutors thought very highly of scruggs either. this is a guy who is a lightning rod in the state. he is a powerful guy with powerful enemies. he begins to try to take some of the conversations with balducci on the phone, the system doesn't work to bring the fbi, a lawyer not his tone and there are a series of telephone conversations between judge lackie and balducci nothing happens. finally, balducci i think realizes that what he has done isn't proper. he realizes this approach to judge lackie is improper and scruggs knew about the approach. he was authorized to make it, so it was improper and unethical
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for balducci to approach any we but whether it is a crime or not, it is questionable. federal government will say that balducci in one conversation suggested when judge lackie retired he might want to join balducci's firm and an of counsel position but it's really small potatoes and i tend to discount that myself although i try not to make any assertions in the book. finally balducci says i would never do anything that would make you uncomfortable. so basically i am sorry that i made this approach. i'm paraphrasing this, but some of the direct dialogue is in the book. judge lackie decides to take himself out of the case.
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he recuses himself from the case that he's hearing that involves scruggs as a defendant and a lawsuit brought by johnny jones who had been one of the partners in the scruggs katrina group. the federal government that is the fbi and the federal prosecutors basically brought judge lackie again and insist that he get into the case. the judge goes through a series of like the only character lies not in the book but here as balducci sometimes doesn't even return his calls. finally come into timber, six months after the first approached by balducci, judge lackie says i am in a blind eye have created a hunt for myself. if i do a favor for scruggs to
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you think he would help me? and balducci sort of britain's because balducci is trying to ingratiate himself with scruggs. he and patterson have formed this new firm and they are desperate to latch onto his thoughts. so balducci commits and says i'm sure that he would. the judge makes another call and this is the fbi and federal government basically tell them what to say. you've got to ask for money and insure scruggs's name is there. the judge does that in a series of phone calls, asks for $40,000. balducci produces the case, brings it down to the judge finally in late september, six months after the first, and at that point clearly a crime has been committed.
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scruggs is essentially encouraged to reimburse balducci by meeting at the birmingham airport in the latter part of september. scruggs writes a check for 40,000 therefore she has become part of the crime by doing this. although dick will insist at that point it was still murky and he did not know exactly what he was committing before he tells him, but dick is guilty. he's pleaded guilty in open court, but he does say he has said in open court i came to the conspiracy late and i will close off by saying thank you to's lawyer from san francisco, very good and powerful criminal defense lawyer explained to me
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how it wasn't technically entrapment, it seems like entrapment. he said because the judge wasn't actually an agent of the federal government therefore it wasn't entrapment. but he made a think a very strong motion around what he called outrageous conduct by the federal government in creating the kind and the was before the judge and oxford listened to it for three hours and wouldn't allow them to call judge lackie and dismiss it. judge lackie incidentally refers to scruggs in his journal as scum, some of the earth, and in open court leader and another site case he refers to scruggs as a monster comes of this is hardly a man this kind favorably
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disposed to dick to begin with, so i hope i haven't rambled on to long, but i am prepared to talk about it at length because the judge understand and other people have accused me of taking $750,000 from his book. i thought it was funny when i was first told about it and then i thought it is insulting. i am willing to take on any of these people including judge lackie or any of his confederates. >> the question is how do i think judge bigger handled all of the sentencing. judge batres had the reputation for being pretty stern, no-nonsense neil biggers is a
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friend of mine during the period is doing the book, it's been like in 800-pound gorilla between us, and i never talked to him because it's still an active case and so i've not talked to him about the book but everything that i use in the book, every quote from neil biggers comes straight from what he said in open court. i thought he was at times a little too stern but he has a reputation for being stern. i think neil biggers is a fine judge handling such thing as the case were splendid and what ever else i'm saying i think he is essentially a very good.
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[inaudible] do you expect the story is going to go on? >> do i expect the story to go on? why don't expect to write a sequel. [laughter] there is still a little side story that are involved that scruggs has the motion before judge biggers to vacate his conviction and it's very complicated and drawing upon a supreme court decision on the services so that in fact scruggs is arguing the charge, the prison of a felony to which he pleaded was an agreed upon charge zach incidentally thought he was not going to get any time, the prosecutors there agreement wasn't binding but they said first we are concerned
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he won't do any time and charlie i think that is an example judge biggers instead of accepting the recommendation gave zach 14 months. so this case is still being heard there's another side story that wasn't known at that time, but i discovered that u.s. attorney's office in oxford and the fbi and oxford had been at war with each other for about six years and don't speak to each other. it all started after 9/11 when a u.s. attorney's office acting in connection with the war on terrorism throughout a dragnet for every convenience store owner or operator of muslim or arab descent and the fbi in oxford objected to it on the
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grounds that it's not authorized, it could not be authorized. many of these people were american citizens, and some of them were informants to the fbi in connection with crystal meth investigations. people would go to these convenience stores and by sudafed they would cook to make crystal meth, said the fbi was outraged with the u.s. attorney's office. u.s. attorney's office didn't like the fbi. the u.s. attorney's office has not invited especially gent in charge of the oxford office who is going to stand trial beginning monday and man named nelson who i think is from indianola originally, so that is still being played out. when the u.s. attorney's office started the scruggs investigation, they made sure
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that nobody in the oxford fbi office knew about it and they went to jackson to the southern district to get an fbi agent from jackson ran the operation against scruggs and people in oxford were kept in the dark and the only learned about through channels within the justice department and they were quite annoyed they had been cut out of the operation. it's not a pretty story but it's basically very ugly and sad story all-around for just about everybody involved. people told me you've written a book without a hero and if you have, i don't think there is a hero in the book. there are a number of people who tried to portray themselves as he rose. i don't think that there is a hero in the book.
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>> [inaudible] the retirement of trent lott. >> i'm sorry? >> the abrupt retirement of trent lott. >> exactly. try what actually announced his retirement on monday after thanksgiving. dick's office was raided on tuesday and he was indicted on wednesday, so it's an extraordinary commitment i've been asked that repeatedly and all i can say is i've tried, if, with no evidence that there was a connection there, although there are some fbi agents who believe that the u.s. attorney's office leaked the information to trent whether he knew about that would that be enough to force him to resign? i don't think so. i know of nothing to suggest there was a connection that was
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anything other than just a crazy coincidence. i was suspicious. i think a lot of people were, but i found nothing. >> you mentioned earlier the involvement of some bribery years ago. do you go back to the days of the mississippi -- >> that's correct. there are a number of people. steve patterson worked for the mississippi bank and there are some other people i think to -- >> [inaudible] >> exactly. and i know in my research i came up with an old story the had freedom of information. steve patterson's phone records
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when he was the state auditor and they showed an extraordinary number of phone calls. no question that bleak and patterson were pretty close. they are right up there with dick scruggs calls the dark side of the force. the it and working together for years. there is one recording where patterson is describing the scene where do we langston, another lawyer who in sup he is in prison, too has gone to see steve patterson and bleak calls patterson home while links and is there and patterson didn't want langston to know he had been talking to blake
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unwittingly his wife says mr. pl is on the phone. [laughter] and you can see patterson saying god, shouldn't have said that. so no question they've been involved for a long time and they were involved in this case, and having said all that, tim asked me the other day in the store you may have read here in greenwood why was it fpl bleak indicted in this, and my response is simply a question to address to the u.s. attorney's office but just like the trent lott connection, have come up with nothing in my research that indicates anything peel bleak that was criminal in this case. >> did you come up with any [inaudible] >> another good question. [laughter]
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clearly he was getting the lot of these loans through banks that had a deep connections to the eastland organization, and it was coming not only from the mississippi bank but other banks in mississippi, and he was also, as you may know, he was getting very favorable loans from the farmers administration here and he had gotten into trouble because he had gone out and had gotten the grain elevators in texas and those of you that have hair the color of mine you remember billy, and about a million bushels beans or something disappeared and it was all sorts of crazy stuff but he was getting money from the federal government and clearly
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after cementer eastland past the scene, people close to try a lot were doing favors for him. one guy named jim lake who had been ronald reagan's secretary in the campaign had been instrumental in helping blake get some of the farmers home loans in the early 1980's. so he was gathering in from all sorts of sources and everybody i talk to is mystified. everybody remembers him as this poor boy from tallahassee county but he's got a lot of friends, too. he played football at the same time i was at old miss and i remember i was at the cotton bowl and there were two guys plan to chiarelli flowers was a fullback for old meskill and
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can't loveless worked for one of the banks that have also given loans and i was asking them about pl and they said we aren't going to say anything bad about pla. we left heel. [laughter] but to david, the former congressman, i asked david and he says rino p. yell. david called peel bleak for me to see if he would talk to me and he basically said no way in hell i'm going to talk to that guy. [laughter] i have a hard time getting a picture of him. tim came through 20-years-old. you can see a picture of him in the book. he is a real mystery man. yes, sir. >> was it a 250,000-dollar fine? >> to under 50,000.
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>> i thought it was a much larger fine. >> well, maybe judge biggers is converting things with mercy and finding 250,000. he got five years for the first sentence and then when he pleaded guilty in the second case involving the judge in jackson he got an additional 2.5 coming in by this trying to calculate how much more time dick scruggs is looking at and ran into a football game saturday, the financial of pfizer and he knows biggers better than i do and we began calculating and i think we figured that dick still has about four years to go. >> what all have you discovered that it peters had to do? what role did he play? >> he had a lot ahead to become
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to play with it. what role did it peters play? this was a man who was district attorney in jackson for close to 30 years. the only time i ever dealt with peters is when i covered the third trial in 1994 bringing up yet another local angle. people in greenwood, you sure know how to produce them, don't you? [laughter] i had no idea how she -- shady his background was. he was a key figure in the federal investigators call scruggs ii. the was a case involving a judge who had been an assistant prosecutor under peters at time of the case and another friend of mine.
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many of these people are friends and some of them may be former friends by now, i don't know. but in the course of hearing this case it was yet another case brought by a former associate of scruggs named bob wilson, another delta from rosedale originally who had had this suit that was going on 20 years against scruggs, arguing over the distribution of asbestos money, and it finally lands in his hands. he's gone through other courts and federal courts and finally gets there and joey langston who was a lawyer in bougainville, dick turns the case over to joey langston has his own connections
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and steve patterson wants him and balducci worked for him. this came third hand from peters. the higher peters for what's going to be hiding a million dollars if he will be helpful in the case. and it turns out he is whispering in body's year and then peters comes up with the idea trent lott ought to call the judge and see if he is interested in a federal judgeship so it goes from peter's to steve patterson to joe delinks in two scruggs, this wonderful idea. so scruggs called his brother-in-law and says body is a good guy, i went to law school with him, he is a moderate, he's
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a democrat and somebody might consider as one of several people. so trent boznic the phone call and trend will say he doesn't know that he was overseeing this case and i am prepared to believe him on that. but again, it was in proper and what was really in proper is she is then giving these opinions to peters for scruggs to kind of review that the rulings are proper and so peters is at the heart of this case so what happens to peters basically the same thing that's happened to appeal the lake, nothing. peters is being interrogated by the federal authorities, the fbi
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and prosecutors, and this has reduced his lawyers to hear at this point there been rough on peter's from and, paulson, the chief federal prosecutor box in the room and peters brightens and got up and hugged dawson. dawson confirmed he did hug him and they know each other from some other case. what ever dawson basically is the federal prosecutor who recommends teachers get immunity in exchange for his testimony against the other people. so peters, who may be the biggest sneak in the whole bunch this free.
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like i say it's not a pretty story. i will get you in just a second. i've got one more year. >> in a way the judge [inaudible] if you read about this stuff they say he was asked -- did the judge say i want the judgeship, i never felt like he did. >> what happened is i think his problem was no judgeship was ever offered or was it going to be offered because trent had decided to give it to alan pepper, his former roommate if i am tracking right, i think i'm right. i may be mixing judgeships but
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body was never going to get the judge should any way nor was it offered. but the problem was he apparently shared some of the draft of the decisions with of the people representing scruggs but bobby was ultimately convicted of lying to men fbi officer and that is what he was convicted of. back in the back. >> if you have and, would you comment on the outrageous conduct for a little bit about -- >> i did, but however i can -- i did. i talked about the character motion at some length, but i'm glad to see you there and if you have got any other questions a guy with your name deserves the floor.
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yes, sir. >> i recall reading some of these transcripts the post on the internet, and then on the internet of course is true but these were all the transcripts from the wire tough and i think i got off the politics website. but one of the things most incredible to me is of significance was told toward the end that balducci tries to talk about fixing homicide case and he basically just says i think i can get some money from these people and then you and i could split. and i never heard anything else about it and to me that was probably the most offensive thing that i read. a lot of these other conversations were in plight and so forth but this was just
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blatant conversation we are going to fix this homicide. what ever happened to that? >> there was a little bit written about that in the paper when that transcript was entered into the record and i touch on that on my book. it shows the degree to which balducci felt comfortable in suggesting the deals to the judge, and if i recall it was $20,000 he said he will keep 10,000i will get the other ten and he picks his homicide -- >> [inaudible] >> it was outrageous and the son of a state official why did not name in the book because i have no idea whether he knew that
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balducci was going to come through like that, but you're correct. >> part of his plea bargain to testify do you think that's why? as i understand nothing was ever done to balducci about that. >> no, i don't think they ever charged him with anything on that. balducci represented himself. it was literally within the hour of that conversation that he is grabbed by the fbi and brought to oxford to meet with of the prosecutors. they didn't of rest him but he knew that his life as he knew it was over and he began spilling his guts and then they wired him up and it was november 1st, 2007
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and that is when he went to the scruggs law firm, and it's extraordinary to listen to the recording because if i had gone through what he had, my life is destroyed and am i able to then go up to these trends and he did an incredible job. it was an amazing performance, as was judge lackie and i think i sit in the book judge lackie is like an actor somewhere he never portrayed anything, nor did balducci. one other thing about balducci, in his grand jury testimony, and i got the transcript of the balducci testimony before the grand jury, he lied repeatedly and he lied at times of being
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led by the u.s. prosecutors to should have known he was longing maudine. at one point he says flatly he went and talked to zach scruggs and the other young partner in the scruggs law firm about $10,000 the judge lackie wanted which he had made up, and both of them said it would be no problem. well i have the recording of the conversation between balducci and zach scruggs, and nothing remotely resembling this cannot in that conversation. but zach scruggs was indicted, largely based on this balducci white on a number of points in his grand jury testimony. ..
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on the supreme court opinion. >> yeah, my sense is that the motion to government yesterday i believe maybe the day before, answered his motion and they've come up with their own counter to his and now jack is in
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process of his lawyers of yet another motion against federal government. at some point, judge bigot is going to hear it. some people tell me they feel that jack had a chance of winning. but paul minor thought he was going to win on the coast of the same thing in the u.s. supreme court would not review his case and to discourage people thought was a setback. but lord, i'm not a lawyer. [inaudible] >> -- there's two, three different issues there. >> they both involve to services, today? >> yeah, but this is a different type of issue. but they're definitely two
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separate issues. the one that is not involved in politics is like a brand-new governmental issue. >> charlie. [inaudible] >> are you familiar that or were you familiar with? >> yeah, well also, you are a lawyer if manders and in that lie detector tests are not admissible in court. it's my understanding -- i have a passage in the book about this. they also said the extreme right in his. i'm told others that the conclusion by the fbi as they were inconclusive and not that they have lied and there is a passage in here.
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i looked it up yesterday. i think i can find it. and this was after skip that term had pleaded guilty and been sentenced. and this is pro forma but after you do this, based year required to take the polygraph and they knew that. this was after it had appeared in court. backstrom would be interrogated that afternoon and would submit to the extent or tasks. the prosecutors anticipated that he would implicate back and close the circle on the last defendant. but through three hours questioning, backstrom gave them little more evidence marad had. he said that that cannot been in
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the room to you about his remark, nor did i know of any conspiracy to bribe judge lackey. backstrom had thought records and credit card receipts to prove that he in fact had been in new orleans on the table due to claim to talk with backstrom in oxford about selective breath. there were other instances where backstrom was prepared to demonstrate his balducci have i heard backstrom is turning his who were with him told bohrer, mike ford was one of the defense attorneys for zack shortly afterwards that backstrom had exonerated back. so i was told. and i look at the footnotes. the footnote is that information came from sid backstrom, who interviewed in prison and from frank tripp who was backstrom's attorney and confidential
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sources. so i can't reveal who the others are. but i felt i had good enough authority to have it in the book that nothing that they had would indicate that either attack or said tabloid. i would be interested in what they come up with. to be continued. [inaudible] >> there is the supreme court came came down this summer that has applied to cases like a nondisclosure something that should have been disclosed to the other parties or concealment it said that no longer comes to tuesday criminal violation on a services statute. that is the only thing that i've played too. they made it real clear,
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including the judge's statements and no, that that was not in any way fleeing. they are services that is and made it clear that the supreme court upheld that, but the thing in court how the nondisclosure no longer constitutes a violation. >> i'm glad we have a lawyer here to ask by name. it has that kind of thrown up my hands on the whole services argument. not only does that feel like he's got a strong argument, i've had a number of other very good lawyers, including people who don't necessarily admire and i'll say he's got a good case and good argument and has a chance to win it. so you know, i was asked about some of these things are still
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playing out. i think the basic story is over. yes, ma'am. [inaudible] >> there was never any -- the judge, balducci was basically -- balducci and patterson suggested when he got the case, 10 balducci knows the judge. he can go and ask them to send it to our partition. and so the source that's fine. and i was improper. she could never have been delegated to go down there. and he did. never any mention of any money until six months later at the
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instigation of the federal government, that judge backe then suggested he needed $40,000 to get over the home. there was never any money offered to him by anybody in the case. the money came in response to his request for it. that's why i think a lot of people think it's not to exonerate people. they should never been engaged in the duty to begin with. but i've got some questions about the tax kicks that the federal government used in pursuing these defendants. anybody else? okay, well thank you all for coming out. i've enjoyed meeting with you. [applause]
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[inaudible conversations] >> this event was hit by turnrow the company in greenwood, mississippi. visit them online at turnrow books.com. >> a new book out by bloomsbury publishing, "blur: how to know what's true in the age of information overload." the co-author is bill kovach and tom rosenstiel. mr. kovach come in your book, one of the chapters is we've been here before. what does that mean? >> that means that we've gone through this dislocation created via an expansion of information time and again throughout history. in fact, newspapers were born at such a time when the printing press came in to me and distributed information to people who would never have information about the people and the institutions that controlled
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their lives. in a tape decade for the public and the industry of information sharing to develop what we call of newspapers to create the basis on which people could find information they could trust. and we've gone through this time after time come with each new major change in technology. we've gone through a period of acrylate is. >> mr. rosenstiel, why the name "blur"? >> i think because information moves so fast now and they're so much of it that people feel confused. when information is in greater supply, knowledge is actually harder to create because you have to sift through more things to make sense of it. so there is a feeling that things are more of a blur, are more confusing, even though we
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have more information at their fingertips. >> so how do we cut through the blur and find out what we need? >> well, we hope the way that consumers will do it and consumers are more in charge now than they've ever been. we are in control of our media in a way we've never been. so what we hope his people will develop the skills to know what's reliable and what is not and that's what the book is about. it's a trait craft of one resided in newsrooms, shared with the consumer. but it's also true that when things are uncertain and confusing, but a lot of people just gravitate the news that they agree with. and so, part of what we're looking at is the information culture now is something of a war between people who want to be empirical and provide evidence to show how information is gathered. and people who want to justify what they believe, offer
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opinions and amassed an audience that way. >> bill kovach, you're also the co-author of elements of journalism. what is your background? >> excuse me. my background is going on 60 years in print journalism. i began any little town in upper east tennessee and covered the civil rights movement and appalachian poverty and work for the near times for 20 years. eight years as chief of the washington bureau. and then i was under the atlanta constitution, spent the last 10 years of matt wise as curator of the nieman foundation at harvard journalism program at harvard and i'm now in retirement, working with tom off and on and running an that he and i created called the committee of concerned journalists, trying to preserve the values of a
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journalism that we can all trust. >> mr. rosenstiel, your background? >> i was a newspaperman also appeared as spent 20 years at "the l.a. times," 10 of those is a press critic for the paper. they worked briefly for newsfeed. and while i was there, was approached by the pew charitable trusts about creating a tank, research institute on the prize, which we created in 1996 of the project for journalism. as part of the pew research center here in washington. and we have the largest content operation in the united states, studying what the media actually can do on the theory that sort of conventional threats were you wet your finger at the press and so you shouldn't do that, really doesn't affect it anymore. but if you offer an empirical look and say this is doing, you decide whether it's what you want to do, that has more
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leverage. >> mr. kovach, isn't it an advantage that people can get any type of news when they want rather than wait for the morning newspaper? >> absolutely. marvelous. it's a wonderful system we have now. the only problem is people are now, as tom said, their own editors of what they're going to bring into their report and their own reporters of his producing this time bringing in. so, people have to become much more aware of the information they're bringing in, how was produced. was it produced to inform or to propaganda, to help them understand? this is what this book is designed to do, to help them use the process, methodology of verification that the truth seekers use to create their own news

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